A Day in the Death of Donny B. is a pretty obscure short from 1969. (Well, 1969ish: I say 1969 because that’s the info I’d been given, but to me this felt very much like a child of the early Seventies).
This movie is so unknown the IMDb fails to list the title, the director or the producer. Things may change soon, as Terpsichore Collection Inc are including the short on a DVD, but for now you’ll have to watch it online or not at all.
The short follows one Donny B., a junkie who roams the street in search of money. Money which will allow him to get his fix. The storyline is minimalistic: we see Donny on the streets, we see him steal a handbag, look for money inside and go to his dealer.
But this is not all: the movie is intercut with other people commenting on Donny B. or people like Donny. One mother (off-screen) tells how her husband decided to get some insurance for their son (“At least then we’ll make some money off him when he dies, now he just costs us money.”) In the meantime a minimalistic soundtrack plays on, the entire fourteen minutes of this short. Only occasionally, when Donny is on the street, a singer breaks through the instrumental to tell us this is another day in the life of Donny B.
Not everything works here, but the oddness factor of this piece of “blaxploitation meets cinéma vérite” (allegedly) is sure enough to entertain you for a couple of minutes (well, the 14 minutes it lasts). You can watch this online, thanks to the Prelinger Archives.